Health science charity Wellcome Trust has appointed PLP Architecture as part of a team to work on an audacious bid for the freehold ownership of the entire Olympic Park in east London
Currently designing with HOK the trust’s £500 million Francis Crick Institute cancer lab project in Camden (formerly known as the UKCMRI), the KPF off-shoot now stands to cash in on a further £1 billion-worth of investment in Stratford, which Wellcome Trust has promised to current park-owner the Olympic Park Legacy Company in exchange for the 312 hectare site.
The charity has already made a move to take over ownership of the 2,800-home Olympic Village but is still battling it out for the homes against fellow shortlisted bidders Hutchinson Whampoa and Qatari Diar with Delancey.
Now Wellcome has given an ‘all-or-nothing’ ultimatum to the government, offering to buy the wider site purchase on the condition the village is included.
Any decision on whether to accept the bid would have to be made by the government and London’s mayor. However, a key bargaining chip on the table is Wellcome Trust’s and PLP’s offer to transform the International Broadcast Centre into a Life Sciences Innovation Centre (pictured). The plans by PLP with AKT II, BDSP, Davis Langdon and Gillespies would convert the centre into two universities and create 7,000 jobs, it is claimed.
The sale of the entire freehold goes beyond the site’s original legacy plans and Wellcome Trust is the only organisation known to have tabled such an offer for the area, which the government calls an ‘east London tech city’.
If successful, the charity would acquire a management role over all the Olympic Park’s assets including the Olympic stadium and Aquatics Centre, for which operating contracts have already been tendered.
Peter J Pereira Gray, managing director, investment division at The Wellcome Trust said: ‘[Our] proposal for the Olympic Park will provide an investment return to Wellcome Trust, a return of National Lottery funds, a world class sporting and community legacy, and very significant economic and social benefits.’
PLP joins Wellcome Trust's bid to buy entire Olympic Park